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Baltimore Removes Four Confederate Monuments


FILE - The Rev. Jesse Jackson gestures toward a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee during a rally.

Work crews in Baltimore took down four monuments to the pro-slavery Civil War Confederacy on Wednesday before dawn, avoiding protests of the sort that greeted the planned removal of a statue in the neighboring state of
Virginia.

Monuments, including one of Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate army in the American Civil War, and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, a Confederate general, were dismantled overnight and taken from the Maryland city's Wyman Park Dell after the city council on Monday approved the removal.

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said she and the city council decided to carry out the removals "quickly and quietly."

"I think any city that has Confederate statues [is] concerned about violence occurring in their city," Pugh told a news conference. "This is not something that is needed."

Television showed images of the large statue of Lee and Jackson on horseback being carried off on a flatbed truck.

"Following the acts of domestic terrorism carried out by white supremacist terrorist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend, cities must act decisively and immediately by removing these monuments," Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott wrote in a resolution calling for the removal of the
statues.

In Charlottesville on Saturday, white nationalists protesting plans to remove a statue of Lee clashed with anti-racism demonstrators. The rally turned deadly
when a car rammed into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing a woman and injuring 19 other people.

During the American Civil War, Maryland was a slaveholding border state straddling the Mason-Dixon line, which made its population about equally split between pro-Union and pro-Confederate. Because of this and the state's dependence on both the North and South for its economy, it did not secede.

Saturday's violence appears to have accelerated the drive to remove memorials, flags and other reminders of the Confederate cause across the United States.

In Birmingham, Alabama's largest city, Mayor William Bell ordered workers to obscure a Confederate monument in a city park using tall wooden boards on Tuesday, the Birmingham News reported.

Bell and other city officials want to remove the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument entirely from Linn Park, the newspaper reported. But a state law passed in May bans local governments from moving historical monuments that have been in place on public property for more than 40 years.

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee, and Gina Cherelus,Jonathan Allen and Peter Szekely in New York.

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